Belmont Tips, Picks & Best Bets; Wizard of Westwood a threat in Belmont Derby

Date IconLast Updated: Jul 25th, 2023
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Belmont Tips, Picks & Best Bets; Wizard of Westwood a threat in Belmont Derby

Belmont Tips & Best Bets Today - July 8, 2023



There are 12 races taking place at Belmont Park in New York on Saturday. Without doubt, the feature race is at 5:49 in the form of The 2023 Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes.

To enhance your experience, we have selected some of the more eye catching horses and analyzed the odds provided by the best online betting sites

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2023 Belmont Derby: The Field

Belmont Park 1


The 2023 Belmont Derby features a field of 11 runners who have qualified through various turf races, with eight different races contributing to their journey. Notably, five of these races are stakes events, highlighting the caliber of competition.

As expected, the race that has the highest representation among the contenders is the local prep, the Pennine Ridge (G2), held at Belmont on June 3. The top three horses from that race, all finishing within a length of each other, have returned to compete in the Belmont Derby. Leading the pack is Kalik, who demonstrated his frontrunning ability by leading at every stage, successfully repelling a challenge from a longshot stalker, and maintaining a one-length advantage over the rallying duo of FAR BRIDGE (+500) and SILVER KNOTT (+700).

Two additional contenders emerged from the Audubon at Churchill, also taking place on June 3. WEBSLINGER (+700) adjusted his usual positioning by stalking closer to the pace and made a wide, winning bid. Meanwhile, MENDELSOHHNS MARCH (+3000), who also adopted a stalking trip, proved unable to match the winner's late surge and finished 1 1/4 lengths behind.

Three other runners have gained their spots in the Belmont Derby through stakes races. Among them, BOPPY O (+1300) showcased a strong late kick to secure victory in the ungraded Jersey Derby at Monmouth. WIZARD OF WESTWOOD (+1600) wired the field in the Cinema at Santa Anita, displaying impressive speed from start to finish. The Foxes, the sole participant to finish outside the top positions in his most recent outing, rallied late to claim fifth place behind August Rodin in the prestigious Derby (G1) at Epsom.

The remaining three contenders have recently tasted success in non-stakes races, all held at Belmont Park. CYBER NINJA (+3000) broke his maiden in his third career start, demonstrating steady improvement. Redistricting enters the Belmont Derby following a victorious debut maiden win, and MONDEGO (+3000) arrives with confidence after securing victory in a first-level allowance race.

2023 Belmont Derby Odds

2023 Belmont Derby: Favorite


Despite his fifth-place finish in his most recent race, it's important to note that the English Derby was an exceptionally challenging competition this year. 

The winner of that race, Auguste Rodin, has already demonstrated his prowess by securing victory in the Irish Derby (G1), while King of Steel triumphed in a Group 2 race at Royal Ascot. The level of competition was truly formidable, and the fact that he faced such top-tier horses should be taken into account.

However, it's worth considering that his late-running style may pose a challenge for him, as it does for many contenders in this field. Nonetheless, his superior class may provide him with an edge over most of his rivals, increasing his chances of success. 

Furthermore, his previous victory in the Dante (G2) two races ago indicates that the transition from the 1 1/2-mile distance of the English Derby to the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Belmont Derby could work in his favor, potentially enabling him to deliver an improved performance.


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2023 Belmont Derby: Contender


Unblemished in his race record, this talented horse trained by Todd Pletcher has consistently delivered strong performances. 

Under the guidance of Christophe Clement, he triumphed in his debut maiden special weight race at Gulfstream, followed by a victory in a first-level allowance contest at the same venue. Since joining Todd Pletcher's barn, he has yet to secure a stakes win but has showcased his ability to contend against top competition.

Demonstrating his tenacity, he displayed a rallying effort to secure second place finishes in both the American Turf and the Pennine Ridge races. 

These performances confirm his capability to compete with high-quality opponents. While a more aggressive early pace would suit him, as it would for many others in this race, he has the potential to secure another solid result and possibly grab a piece of the prize in this upcoming contest.

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2023 Belmont Derby: Longshot


Keep an eye on this intriguing longshot. When it comes to selecting audacious opportunities and defying expectations, few trainers are as skilled as Michael McCarthy. He has a knack for pinpointing ambitious races, sometimes even shipping horses across the country, and leaving everyone surprised. 

Wizard of Westwood, under McCarthy's guidance, is now taking on graded opponents for the first time in this upcoming race. However, his recent performance in the Cinema, where he thrived over 1 1/4 miles, showcased his potential.

In the Cinema, Wizard of Westwood led the race from start to finish, displaying impressive speed and stamina. With jockey John Velazquez aboard, a rider familiar with the nuances of Belmont, the duo is poised to excel. 

As they enter the homestretch, their competitors will have to mount a determined chase to catch up with Wizard of Westwood. Given McCarthy's astute eye for talent and his ability to identify a horse's potential, there is a strong possibility that Wizard of Westwood will maintain his momentum and carry on towards victory.

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Before we delve into the Belmont tips and picks, it's worth noting that Kentucky is gearing up for the launch of sports betting this September. Keep an eye out for the upcoming KY sportsbooks and prepare to enhance your horse racing experience with some exciting betting action.


Ever since its transition to July and its rebranding as the Belmont Derby, only one trainer has managed to secure victory in this prestigious race on multiple occasions. Aidan O'Brien stands out as the sole trainer to accomplish this feat, having emerged victorious with both Deauville in 2016 and Bolshoi Ballet in 2021.

The Foxes is the current favorite and enters the race with a strong performance in the highly competitive Epsom Derby, solidifying their status as a formidable competitor. However, several other horses are closely trailing behind and have the potential to emerge as post-time favorites. Far Bridge, trained by Todd Pletcher, Webslinger, trained by Mark Casse, and Kalik are among these contenders.

Jose Lezcano has won the Belmont Derby twice, with Mr Speaker (2014) and Henley’s Joy (2019). He does not have a call in this year’s Belmont Derby. Among jockeys riding in 2023, Junior Alvarado (Gufo, 2020), Javier Castellano (Catholic Boy 2018), Jose Ortiz (Oscar Performance, 2017), and Joel Rosario (Force the Pass, 2015) have won before.

In a major upset, Classic Causeway won the 2022 Belmont Derby for trainer Kenny McPeek and jockey Julien Leparoux. McPeek sends out Mendelssohns March in 2023, while Leparoux does not have a mount.